You’re pregnant! As you probably already know, you’ll be dealing with significant hormonal and physiological changes in the upcoming nine months. Understanding what they are, specifically, can help you better prepare yourself for this motherhood journey, especially if this is your very first pregnancy.
Here’s what you can expect in each of the three pregnancy trimesters.
First trimester (Conception – 12 weeks pregnant)
You may not look pregnant yet in the first trimester – but chances are, you’re feeling it. That’s because a flood of hormones is prepping your body to play hostess to your already-developing little one for the upcoming nine months.
In addition to a missed period, you may experience other early symptoms of pregnancy, such as:
– Unfortunately, this symptom is misnamed – you’ll come to realize that in contrast to its name, the queasy feeling can hit you at any time of the day. This early sign of pregnancy usually surfaces just a few short weeks into your pregnancy.
– Used to love durians, but can’t bear to be in the same room with anything that remotely smells like it anymore? Well, you can blame your new-found hatred for durians on – you guessed it – pregnancy hormones. Many expectant women also complain about a loss of appetite during pregnancy – but it’s essential to keep eating nutritious foods to support your baby’s growth.
With the countless number of changes going on in your body during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, you may wonder what’s normal – and what’s not. It’s crucial to understand that expectant women’s risk for miscarriage is highest during the first trimester.
Here are two worrying symptoms that warrant a call (or a visit) to your doctor:
Heavy vaginal bleeding
– While light spotting during pregnancy is pretty typical, heavy bleeding isn’t. If what you see is pink or brown, you can (most likely) release that breath you’ve been holding. On the contrary, if it’s bright red, you can consider it bleeding – ring your doctor up, now.
Severe abdominal pain
– Intense abdominal pain, accompanied with cramps, can be a sign of a miscarriage, or an ectopic pregnancy – where your egg has implanted itself someplace other than your uterus. Ectopic pregnancies must be dealt with immediately to prevent potential internal bleeding.
Second trimester (13 weeks pregnant – 28 weeks pregnant)
Wondering why people in the MRT are still not giving up their seats to you? Well, don’t worry – by the end of the second trimester, your lower abdomen will start looking less like the aftermath of a buffet, and more like a pregnant belly.
While several of your first trimester pregnancy ailments are likely to have disappeared, you can expect others to pop up for the first time as your levels of pregnancy hormones continue to rise.
A few exciting new pregnancy symptoms in this trimester include:
– Much to the dismay of your spouse, you might find yourself snoring for the first time; this is because of the increased blood flow to your body’s mucous membranes – including your nose.
Leg cramps – As implied by its name, leg cramps are painful spasms that radiate through your calves and up the leg. If you’re sick of not getting a good night’s rest because of these pesky cramps, you might want to give prenatal massage a go – it can provide you with some much-needed relief.
Also, these three months are when you’ll begin to gain pregnancy weight, as your food aversions have finally let up. Keep in mind that you only need to consume an additional 300 calories per day for the remainder of your pregnancy.
If you conceived at a healthy weight, you could expect to gain around 0.5 KG per week for the remaining weeks of your pregnancy.
Statistics show that once you’ve made it to your second trimester, the rest of your pregnancy should be relatively smooth sailing. Nevertheless, it never hurts to be vigilant for the following symptoms:
Frequent and copious urination
– If you experience this symptom along with extreme thirst, fatigue, and snoring, you may be displaying signs of gestational diabetes – high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy.
Significant vision changes
– Bodily fluids increase during pregnancy can alter the curvature of your cornea, resulting in small changes in vision. But if you notice significant changes, it’s best to talk to your doctor – you may have developed a pregnancy complication termed preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension).
Third trimester (29 weeks pregnant – 40 weeks pregnant)
You’ve officially reached the two-thirds mark of your pregnancy; in a few months, you’ll finally be able to gaze lovingly into the perfect combination of you, and your spouse. And even though you may feel like your belly couldn’t possibly get any bigger, there’s zero doubt about it – it will. A whole lot bigger.
Here’s what you can expect from your body in these final few weeks:
Braxton Hicks contractions
– Don’t worry when you feel your uterus tightening up; you’re most likely experiencing practice contractions. So – how do you distinguish between real labor contractions and Braxton Hicks?
Regularity and frequency
: Practice contractions are irregular and infrequent, while real labor contractions are relatively regular and typically grow longer, stronger, and closer as you near labor.
Presence of other labor signs
: Real contractions come with common labor signs, such as bloody show (blood-streaked discharge), loss of mucus plug, and water breakage.
– In the final few months, as your pregnant belly grows larger, your skin has reached maximum stretching capacity. You may notice tiny tears appearing on your stomach; these are usually a result of genetics. You can moisturize to reduce their appearance.
So – which symptoms, other than the usual few, should you keep an eye out for in this final stretch? Well, there’s a crucial one:
Changes in vaginal discharge
– If you notice any significant change in your vaginal discharge before your 37th week of pregnancy – including bright red blood and bleeding – you should call your doctor immediately to rule out any conditions that might require prompt medical attention.
Baby’s due date has come and gone?
You’ll be considered overdue once you’ve reached the 42nd week of your pregnancy. If there remain to be no signs of labor, you may consider inducing labor – depending on the discretion of your doctor, of course.
Pregnancy is an exciting period; it’s bound to be unlike any other in your life. Throughout the nine months, it’s critical for you to lead a healthy lifestyle and visit your healthcare provider regularly to ensure the best outcome for your baby. The inconveniences of pregnancy will seem insignificant once you set sight on your precious, little one for the very first time – we promise.
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